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For the week of Mar. 1 through Mar. 7, 2000

Sun Valley Co. signs Picabo Street settlement

Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber a party to the settlement


By RON SOBLE
Express Editor

Sun Valley Co. has signed its settlement agreement with champion ski racer Picabo Street, but two other parties to the lawsuit haven’t yet put their signatures on the pact, Wally Huffman, the resort’s general manager, said yesterday.

Huffman disclosed in a telephone interview that one of the parties required to sign the agreement is the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, which hadn’t been named as a defendant.

He said he expected the other parties--the chamber and Street’s lawyers--to sign the papers in "seven to 10 days."

Street’s suit, filed in federal court in Boise last December, contended the resort should pay damages to her for the unauthorized use of her name in its magazine and Internet advertising.

Huffman didn’t disclose the financial amount of the settlement.

If the lawsuit had gone forward, Huffman said, "[the chamber] would certainly be a party. It’s prudent to include them in any settlement."

In her lawsuit, Street declared, "Sun Valley Co. and the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce devised" the ad campaign.

The chamber’s lawyer, Ben Wurst, of the Ketchum-based law firm of Speck & Aanestad, said in a telephone conversation yesterday that he hadn’t yet seen the final agreement and couldn’t comment on it.

He did say, however, that Huffman’s observation was correct—that "more likely than not" the chamber would have been named as a defendant if the litigation had gone forward.

Wurst said he couldn’t comment on whether the chamber would have to contribute to the settlement.

Denver-based attorney Kevin Evans, of the firm Hogan & Hartson, who is Street’s lead counsel, said he, too, hadn’t received the papers, but that "we had no intention" of making the chamber a defendant in the case.

"There’s no liability to the chamber on this," he said. Evans, commenting in a telephone interview yesterday, said Street "made a conscious decision based on the facts as we knew them" not to name the chamber. Nevertheless, he agreed with Huffman that it was "prudent" to have the chamber sign the agreement.

Besides the Sun Valley Co., the other defendant named in the litigation was Sinclair Oil, owned by billionaire entrepreneur Earl Holding, the resort’s chief executive.

Huffman said of the emerging settlement, which he said he signed on Monday, that "it’s good all the way around. It’s good for the Sun Valley Co., it’s good for Picabo and it’s good for the community."

Huffman left open the possibility of "utilizing Picabo" in some supportive role with the Sun Valley Co., but he did not elaborate.

Street, 28, is currently under contract with Park City Mountain Resort as director of skiing.

A Wood River Valley native, Street has won two World Cup downhill titles and Olympic gold and silver medals.

 

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Copyright 2000 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.